Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An informal aside to Councillors

It's all fine and dandy for me to muse until my bum's numb about the lofty goal of changing how people view local government and their place in it. But there's a niggling irony going on here; despite this change having to come from the residents, if their 'dance partner' isn't cooperative, then not only do you potentially get a lousy dance experience, you may well get a pouty sit-down protest, a shut-down of the music, and a turning-off of the lights.

To wit; if elected officials have had 'trying' experiences involving the public (citizen advisory committees, neighbourhood associations and the such), the mere memories of which bring on headaches, then is it possible that politicians just wouldn't be that interested in what I'm proposing, no matter how obligated they might feel to show enthusiasm for it?

Hence this private rumination, now directed to all area Councillors to consider:

Regarding my 'relationship of engagement' notion; do you suppose there's a big part of almost all politicians...especially those who've been around a while...who want nothing to do with The Public getting their noses into 'things that don't concern them'? In other words, there's a patronizing undercurrent best expressed (but obviously never publicly done so) as 'Please don't bother us. We have grown-up things to look after. Go play.'

Yes, this flies in the face of declarations to the contrary by Councillors, especially at election time, and yes, younger, more open, more 'social media'-oriented candidates might find this approach to be horrid, but I'm really wondering if, at least in local governance, the paradigm is so entrenched that the biggest battle in 'increasing the relationship of engagement between residents and their Councillors' will not in fact be migrating people to a new value system, another Lifestyle where civic involvement and participation is a natural part of living their lives, but rather getting Councillors (and City Hall in general) to adopt an entirely different way of doing business.

Which they may only submit to, kicking and screaming.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe if the benefits could be seen, quantified, appreciated, then elected officials would welcome the opportunity to find a better way to govern, that collaboration and feedback and transparency might actually make their jobs not only 'easier', but more fulfilling.

It would be a relief to have my cynicism proven unwarranted.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'm always interested in feedback, differing opinions, even contrarian long as they're delivered with decorum...with panache and flair always helping.